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J Korean Med Sci. 2016 Nov;31(11):1814-1821. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2016.31.11.1814.

Association of Overweight with the Prevalence of Lifetime Psychiatric Disorders and Suicidality: General Population-based Study in Korea.

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Department of Psychiatry, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Hallym University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Research Planning, Mental Health Research Institute, National Center for Mental Health, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Depression Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Inha University, Incheon, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Gachon Medical School, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, Incheon, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Sanggye Paik Hospital, College of Medicine, Inje University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Korea.
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul Metropolitan Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.


Many epidemiological studies suggest that overweight is associated with an elevated risk of psychiatric disorders and suicidal tendency. However, findings vary across studies, and some have contradictory results. We investigated the relationship of overweight with a range of psychiatric disorders and suicidality in the Korean general population. A multistage cluster sampling design was adopted. A total of 6,022 participants aged 18-74 years completed face-to-face interviews (response rate: 78.7%) including assessment of psychiatric disorders, suicidality, and height and weight. Overweight (defined as body mass index of ≥ 25) was associated with an increase in the lifetime prevalence of depressive disorders (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07-1.77), suicidal ideation (AOR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.20-1.68), and suicidal plans (AOR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.02-2.03), controlling for sociodemographic variables. Subgroup analysis found that the association between overweight and depressive disorders exists only in women aged 18-44 years (AOR, 1.75; 95% CI, 1.07-2.89) while the association of overweight with suicidal ideation (AOR, 2.08; 95% CI, 1.53-2.82) and suicide plans (AOR, 2.59; 95% CI, 1.25-5.37) existed only in men aged 18-44 years. Overweight was associated with increased odds of nicotine use disorders in women aged 18-44 years (AOR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.02-5.43), but the association was in the opposite direction in men aged 45-74 years (AOR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.43-0.94). In conclusion, overweight is related to various psychiatric disorders and suicidality in Korea. Policy makers and clinicians should pay more attention to the mental health of overweight individuals.


Cross-sectional Studies; Mental Disorders; Obesity; Overweight; Suicide

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